Litfuse Blog Tour + Review: Wish You Were Here by Beth K. Vogt

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Wish You Were Here
by Beth K. Vogt
Copyright 2012
Howard Books
ISBN: 9781451659863
About the book:
Allison Denman is supposed to get married in five days, but everything is all wrong. The huge wedding. The frothy dress. And the groom. Still, kissing the groom's brother in an unguarded moment is decidedly not the right thing to do. How could she have made such a mistake? It seems Allison's life is nothing but mistakes at this point. And pulling a "Runaway Bride" complete with stealing, er, borrowing her best friend's car doesn't seem to solve her problems. Can Allison find her way out of this mess? Maybe she just needs to stop orchestrating everything. Allison prefers being the one in control, and giving it up is not going to be easy. But to find her way again, she will have to believe that God has a plan for her and find the strength to let Him lead.

My Thoughts:
"She never should have said yes." When reading a story that's about a bride-to-be a line like that might worry you or like me make you extremely curious and keep you reading, reading, reading! I'm not sure that I've ever been hooked by a first line but there's a first time for everything, right?

Allison Denman is having second thoughts about her wedding dress, her groom, and the direction her life is headed. With the help of her Aunt Nita, her aunt's crazy llama, she discovers God's plan for her life and her true love. Now, I'm not going to spoil anything but let me just say that Allison's HEA will definitely leave you feeling, for lack of a better word, all mushy inside.

Each and every character including the irascible llamas, Pacha and Kuzko add such color and fun to what just could have been a plain ol' romance. It reminds me of a romantic movie. Romantic comedies and dramas are my absolute favorites and Wish You Were Here was a bit of Julia Roberts's Runaway Bride mixed with Kimberly Williams-Paisley's Lucky Seven in book form. Even though this is her first novel, Ms. Vogt writes like a pro and I for one am certainly glad that she decided to branch out from writing strictly nonfiction. I'm her new biggest fan and can't wait to read what she comes out with next.

To read what others are saying about the book go HERE.

~My Rating: 5 stars~

 *I received my complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for posting my honest opinion/review of it for the tour.*


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Celebrate with Beth by entering her Wish You Were Here Giveaway!


One "happy" winner will receive:
  • A brand new iPad with Wi-Fi (The must-have, do-everything gadget!)
  • Wish You Were Here by Beth Vogt (Swoon worthy.)
  • $15 iTunes Gift Card (Music, books, apps, & more.)
Hurry, the giveaway ends on 6/4/12. The winner will be announced 6/6/12 on Beth's website!

Just click one of the icons below to enter! Tell your friends about Beth's giveaway on FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning.


Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

Happy Reading!



Western Romance at it's Finest: Short-Straw Bride by Karen Witemeyer

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Short-Straw Bride
by Karen Witemeyer
Copyright 2012
Bethany House Publishers
ISBN: 9780764209659
About the book (from Amazon):
No one steps on Archer land. Not if they value their life. But when Meredith Hayes overhears a lethal plot to burn the Archer brothers off their ranch, a twelve-year-old debt compels her to take the risk.

Fourteen years of constant vigilance hardens a man. Yet when Travis Archer confronts a female trespasser with the same vivid blue eyes as the courageous young girl he once aided, he can't bring himself to send her away. And when an act of sacrifice leaves her injured and her reputation in shreds, gratitude and guilt send him riding to her rescue once again.

Four brothers. Four straws. One bride. Despite the fact that Travis is no longer the gallant youth Meredith once dreamed about, she determines to stand by his side against the enemy that threatens them both. But will love ever be hers? Or will Travis always see her merely as a short-straw bride?


My Thoughts:
After reading her debut novel, A Tailor-Made Bride, almost two years ago I've come to expect nothing but the best western romance in a Karen Witemeyer and not surprisingly that is exactly what you get with Short-Straw Bride. Be prepared to set everything aside and get swept away in a tale that is reminiscent of a fairy-tale. Meredith isn't a princess but she is a girl with a dream of one day once again meeting the boy who rescued her from a coyote trap. Travis isn't a prince but he certainly is a worthy hero whose loyalty to family takes precedence over anything else in his life. That is until a certain lady with familiar blue eyes steps foot on Archer land trying to repay a debt and save the Archers from ruin.

With her ability to make you fall in love with characters from the first page it's always so hard to put Karen's books down. I didn't want to tax myself so I didn't even bother trying with this one, I read it straight through. There's just something about a good old-fashioned shotgun wedding that keeps you glued to a story! Short-Straw Bride delivers friendship, romance, and the importance of family and faith with just the right amount of humor. Everyone knows when you throw a female in with four brothers who are just fine with living alone there's bound to be a few fun moments.

If you're a fan of Ms. Witemeyer or just a fan of western romance I think you will be pleased with Short-Straw Bride. Don't say I didn't warn you if you decide to read this and find that half the day is gone before you know it! Here's to hoping that we don't have to wait long for the next book!


To learn more about the author visit HER WEBSITE

                                   ~My rating: 5 stars~


*I received my complimentary copy from the publisher as an influencer for the author.

Happy Reading!



Cover Reveal: Waiting for Midnight by Merrie Destefano (e-book collection)

Friday, May 25, 2012

I know this isn't they type of book I usually post about but I love this author's stories so much I just had to share. Merrie Destefano's releasing an anthology of three short stories in e-book form just in time for summer. I have the feeling that this will be very good and just right for a beach read. At 99 cents the price won't break the bank either. ;-) It's not available right now but look for it next week on Amazon!



The stories in Waiting for Midnight (taken from Merrie's blog)
Set on an alien world, “Letters from Home” tells the tale of a mother’s love for her wayward son and the great lengths to which she’ll go to rescue him from another dimension.

“Learning to Hunt” features Ash, the Darkling dream-eater introduced in FEAST: Harvest of Dreams, as he explores seventeenth-century Amsterdam, where his father teaches him how to harvest dreams. 

“Waiting for Midnight” explores that dangerous territory between first love and obsession, all set in Primrose Wood, a forest where dark magic rules.

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Check out my reviews of Merrie's novels, Afterlife and Feast!

Happy Reading!




Clash of the Titles: Five New Releases You Gotta See!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

*guest post by April W Gardner


This week, Clash of the Titles is featuring five novels new to bookstore shelves. You don't want to miss a single one! They're already getting great reviews. Check them out on Amazon by clicking the cover images. You can also use the survey below to let us know which you're most likely to read first. Which one is going to the top of your TBR pile?

COWGIRL TRAIL by Susan Page Davis
Alex Bright is torn between supporting the cowboys who want to strike or the rancher who gave him his start. The boss’s beautiful daughter complicates matters when she organizes an all-woman outfit to replace the striking men.

THE RESTORER'S SON by Sharon Hinck
Cast out by those he trusts and preferring to cross swords with the One rather than yield to His will, Kieran flees to enemy Hazor, only to find that the One knows no borders. Pursued by his calling, Kieran finds a boy without a home, a king with burning questions, and a nation torn by darkness. 


THE CHASE by DiAnn Mills
To FBI Special Agent Tigo Harris, it's a cold case, but to writer Kariss Walker it's a story that she has to write despite the danger. 
LEAVING LANCASTER by Kate Lloyd
When Holly Fisher's mother reveals a long-kept secret, that Holly's mother abandoned her Amish community where relatives still live, will Holly's yearning for family be strong enough to overtake her conflicted feelings of betrayal? Set in the heart of contemporary Amish country, Leaving Lancaster explores the power of forgiveness, reconciliation, and love where least expected.





THE IRISH HEALER by Nancy Herriman
Accused of murdering a child under her care, Irish healer Rachel Dunne flees the ensuing scandal while vowing to never sit at another sickbed. When a cholera epidemic sweeps through London, she feels compelled to nurse the dying daughter of the enigmatic physician she has come to love. 


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Happy Reading!




Another Incredible Debut: Submerged by Dani Pettrey

Monday, May 21, 2012

Submerged (Alaskan Courage, Book 1)
by Dani Pettrey
Copyright 2012
Bethany House Publishers
ISBN: 9780764209826
From the publisher:
A sabotaged plane. Two dead deep-water divers. One single clue.

Bailey Craig vowed never to set foot in Yancey, Alaska, again. She has a past, and a reputation--and Yancey's a town that doesn't forget. She's returned only to bury a loved one killed in the plane crash, but then dark evidence emerges and Bailey's own expertise becomes invaluable for the case.

Cole McKenna can face dangerous rescue dives. He can face the fear a murderer may be threatening his town. But facing the reality of Bailey's reappearance is a tougher challenge. She broke his heart... but doesn't seem to be the same girl who left Yancey ten years ago. And he's not the same guy she left behind.

Racing against the clock and a rising body count, Bailey and Cole must move beyond the hurts of their pasts to work together until the truth of what is hidden in the depths finally surfaces.


My Thoughts:
It's safe to say at this point in the year that if I could only read books by debut authors I would still be a happy girl. Submerged by Dani Pettrey is yet another example that shows you don't have to be a veteran novelist to write an amazing story! I know it's sort of become cliche to say, "I was hooked from page one..." but there's really no other way of putting it people, I was hooked! At the risk of sounding way cheesy...here goes...you all need to take the plunge and pick up a copy of this book.

Submerged is refreshing in many ways. The book is set in Alaska, the main characters are deep water divers, and Russian history is a big part of the story -- those aren't things that you see everyday when reading a romance and I for one loved it! The most intriguing part of this story wasn't just the tension and chemistry between Bailey and Cole (which was great by the way) but the fun banter between Cole's little sister, Piper and a certain lawman was verrrry interesting. I fell in love with all of the characters in the book and can't wait to meet more in the upcoming book two, Shattered.

The chill of the Alaskan air and the biting cold of the water came to life in this book. It's a big feat to make me, a warm weather loving girl, want to leave 80 degrees and partly cloudy skies for a trip to Alaska and snow but Ms. Pettrey has definitely done that. If you're looking for a great weekend read I highly recommend Submerged, I don't think you'll be disappointed.

To learn more about the author and her books visit HER WEBSITE


My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

*I received my complimentary copy from the author in exchange for posting my review. I was not obligated or compensated to provide a positive review.*



Worlds Collide: A Love Forbidden (Heart of the Rockies, Book 2) by Kathleen Morgan

Sunday, May 20, 2012

A Love Forbidden (Heart of the Rockies, Book 2)
by Kathleen Morgan
Copyright 2012
Revell Books
ISBN: 9780800719715
From the publisher:
Moved by a compassionate heart and the desire for adventure, twenty-year-old Shiloh Wainwright impulsively accepts a teaching position at the White River Indian Agency in northwestern Colorado. Eager to use her skills to help improve the lives of Ute Indian children, she looks forward to a fulfilling, independent life on the Colorado frontier.

But her new job isn't what she imagined it would be, and Shiloh soon finds herself caught in the cross fire between the Utes, their unyielding Indian agent, and a demanding US government. Her unexpected encounter with a half-Ute childhood friend, Jesse Blackwater, only complicates matters as they battle their growing feelings for each other amidst spiraling tensions that threaten to explode into a catastrophic uprising.


My Thoughts:
Kathleen Morgan is such a talented writer. I've read many of her books and have enjoyed each and every one unfortunately A Love Forbidden was not one of my favorites. This series started off with a bang in the form of A Heart Divided with perfect chemistry between the characters, great message in what I felt to be a very entertaining Christian romance. Book 2 I'm afraid suffers from the dreaded sophomore slump. It's not the characters, both Shiloh and Jesse are very likable and I wanted them to overcome the obstacles that were in their way and rekindle their friendship. It was very interesting to read about the conflict between the US government and the Utes but since this is labeled as historical romance I wanted more of Shiloh and Jesse's back story! I would have loved to have read more about their interaction as a young girl and boy and just HOW they became to be such strong friends rather than the short prologue showing why Jesse left the Wainwright ranch. My feeling is it would have made it more believable for her to have been held up on him so far into her adulthood like she was. There are bits and pieces of both their past's scattered throughout the book but in spite if it all I thought when I turned the last page that there was so much more I wanted! I'm not saying this is a bad book because it isn't, but I suggest A Heart Divided if you're looking for a great romance by this author. I'm very much looking forward to reading book three in this series and hopefully find out what's going on in the lives of the other Wainright siblings, Nick and Jordan!

To learn more about the author visit HER WEBSITE

“Available May 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars 

*I received my complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for posting my review for the tour. I was not compensated in any way.*



High Desert Haven Wins on Clash of the Titles!

Thursday, May 17, 2012


 

**Guest post by Michelle Massaro

In the recent Leading Ladies Clash, Life on the Edge by Jennifer Comeaux and High Desert Haven by Lynnette Bonner  went into the ring on Clash of the Titles.

After the public vote, the winning title was....




 HIGH DESERT HAVEN by Lynnette Bonner!!  


 We're happy to announce that High Desert Haven has been added to the list of COTT Champ titles! And we also want to extend our congratulations to the author. I'm sure we're all eager to add this book to our summer to-be-read pile! 

 In response to her win, author Lynnette Bonner said:

It was an honor just to have been chosen as a clasher, in the first place, and then to have won… wow, I’m totally blessed by that. I’m still fairly new at this, and putting my stories out to the public is, to say the least, a daunting experience. So every little bit of encouragement and affirmation gets tucked away for days ahead when I will need to draw strength from them. I so appreciate COTT for giving me this opportunity to interact and connect with their readers.

Some of the comments left by readers were:
  • Great job!!
  • Both excerpts make me want to read the rest of the story. It was hard to choose!
  • I think they both did a good job of presenting their books.
  • Both leading ladies were believable and presented with skill.
  • Looks like a whole lotta fun!
  • I found it very hard to select only ONE excerpt. They were both great! Keep up the great work!
  • Both excerpts have great leads! Would like to read both books!

Curious to read the winning excerpt? You can both contenders' entries here.
An interview with the winning author can be found here.  

Want to congratulate the author? Leave a message in the comments. Have a question about future Clashes on COTT? Email them at contactCOTT@...

Thank you! 

**Michelle Massaro is the Assistant Editor for Clash of the Titles, a mother of four, and a wife of nearly 17 years. She bakes, crochets, cross-stitches, sings, writes, and cries during movies. She champions for Biblical authority, leads a Jr. High girls' Bible study, and plays a mean game of backgammon. She spends way too much time on the computer, but makes it up to her family (she hopes) with prayer coverings and chocolate chip cookies. The best place to connect with her is on Facebook, naturally.


Happy Reading!


A Sweet Debut: The Pursuit of Lucy Banning by Olivia Newport

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Pursuit of Lucy Banning
by Olivia Newport
Copyright 2012
Revell Publishers
ISBN: 9780800720384
From the publisher:
Lucy Banning may live on the exclusive Prairie Avenue among Chicago's rich and famous, but her heart lies elsewhere. Expected to marry an up-and-coming banker from a respected family, Lucy fears she will be forced to abandon her charity work and squeeze herself into the mold of the well-dressed wife who spends most of her time and money redecorating.

When she meets Will, an unconventional young architect who is working on plans for the upcoming 1893 World's Fair, Lucy imagines a life lived on her own terms. Can she break away from her family's expectations? And will she ever be loved for who she truly is?

Get swept away into the lavish world of Chicago's high society as Olivia Newport brings to life an age of glitz and grandeur, stark social contrasts, and one woman who dares to cross class lines for what she believes.


My Thoughts:
First things first, I love this cover. I know that it has the typical lady-in-a-pretty-dress thing going on but I love the background! Since the heroine does a lot of traveling around 19th-century Chicago the gritty, bustling street scene is very appropriate and I wish more romances went with covers like this one. Even books that are set in cities seem to have the perfectly clean and serene covers that don't really fit the story at all so kudos to the art department and designers on this one!

Secondly, and more importantly, the story in between the cover was good too. I've been raving about the wonderful contemporary debuts that I have been reading in the past few weeks and I'm so happy to say I have found a historical worthy of the ol' keeper shelf. It isn't without its flaws but it is a solid debut that has me very intrigued. The book takes place over a year so it isn't a fast-moving, hold on to your hat, whirlwind story and there isn't really all that much romance however that doesn't mean it isn't interesting. There is a HEA (although I won't spoil it and say whose)  but I felt Lucy's story was more about deciding where she wanted to go with her life and what was most important rather than focusing on the romantic part. That said, if you're looking for a dreamy, take me away romance this probably won't be a book for you.

I like where Ms. Newport went with this story as far as making Lucy a bit of an independent without being completely radical for the time period. However, as much as I liked Lucy I liked Charlotte, her maid, a whole lot more. At times I felt myself wanting to skip the bits where Charlotte wasn't present, not because the story wasn't interesting (read above paragraph) but because she was such an intriguing person! I wanted to know why she was keeping the huge secret, how she came to have/end up with what she was keeping secret, why she left her home etc. but sadly I didn't get much closure. Hopefully book two will give us some answers. I'm crossing my fingers because Charlotte was my favorite character and I NEED to know what's going on!

Finally, if you like your stories laced with Scripture you won't find it in this book. I would go so far as to say that this is a "clean" story and not really Christian fiction. I don't have a problem with it but I know sometimes books in the genre can get "preachy" and turn off readers (just read some Amazon reviews out there...yikes). The Pursuit of Lucy Banning is definitely a book I would recommend for Christian fiction newbies or to someone who hasn't read the genre before.

All in all, The Pursuit of Lucy Banning was a nice first showing by Olivia Newport. Judging by her Twitter page we will have plenty of stories, contemporary and historical, in which we will hopefully discover more of her writing talent!

To learn more about the author and her books visit HER WEBSITE

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

“Available May 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

*I received a complimentary copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for posting my review for this blog tour. I was not compensated in any way.*



Last Minute Gift for Mom: The Midwife of Venice by Roberta Rich

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Midwife of Venice
by Roberta Rich
Copyright 2011
Gallery Books
ISBN: 9781451657470
About the book:
Hannah Levi is renowned throughout Venice for her gift at coaxing reluctant babies from their mothers—a gift aided by the secret “birthing spoons” she designed. But when a count implores her to attend to his wife, who has been laboring for days to give birth to their firstborn son, Hannah is torn. A Papal edict forbids Jews from rendering medical treatment to Christians, but the payment he offers is enough to ransom her beloved husband, Isaac, who has been captured at sea. Can Hannah refuse her duty to a suffering woman? Hannah’s choice entangles her in a treacherous family rivalry that endangers the baby and threatens her voyage to Malta, where Isaac, believing her dead in the plague, is preparing to buy his passage to a new life. Not since The Red Tent or People of the Book has a novel transported readers so intimately into the complex lives of women centuries ago or so richly into a story of intrigue that transcends the boundaries of history.

My Thoughts:
Midwifery is such a fascinating topic and to combine it with interesting locales and by setting the story in a Venice overrun with plague and superstition you get one intriguing story in The Midwife of Venice. I honestly could not put this book down because the very first page told me that this wasn't going to be an average, everyday story. The rich details of the Jewish Ghetto Nuovo of Venice and the hustle and bustle of the island city of Valletta, Malta, came alive in the pages of this book.

Don't get me wrong this story is not a "light-hearted" tale but one of the struggles of a midwife, Hannah Levi, who wants to usher healthy babies into the world without being accused of sorcery or witchcraft by the wealthy Catholics of Venice simply because of the tools she uses or because she's Jewish. Hannah also has to deal with the possibility that she may not see her beloved husband again as he lost everything they had and was being held captive on Malta until his ransom is paid. I will admit I thought this story was going to end well but I was pleasantly surprised by the way Ms. Rich tied everything up giving the reader a sense of hope and happiness for Hannah in her future life that went along great with the rest of the story. I have never read a book set in Venice that was told from the side of a Jewish heroine so this was a first for me and I'm definitely looking forward to reading more from Roberta Rich in the future!

If you're looking for a last minute gift for mom this Mother's Day I suggest going to your local bookstore and checking this book out. I don't think mom will be disappointed nor you if you decide to give this book a try.

Note: Some strong language, violence and sexual content

To learn more about the author and her books visit HER WEBSITE

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

*I received my complimentary copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for posting my honest review of the book. I was not compensated in any way.*

Happy Reading!



Litfuse Blog Tour + My Review: My Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade

Thursday, May 10, 2012

My Stubborn Heart
by Becky Wade
Copyright 2012
Bethany House Publishers
ISBN: 9780764209741
About the book:
Kate Donovan is burned out on work, worn down by her dating relationships, and in need of an adventure. When her grandmother asks her to accompany her to Redbud, Pennsylvania, to restore the grand old house she grew up in, Kate jumps at the chance.

Upon her arrival in Redbud, Kate meets Matt Jarreau, the man hired to renovate the house. Kate can't help being attracted to him, drawn by both his good looks and something else she can't quite put her finger on. He's clearly wounded--hiding from people, from God, and from his past. Yet Kate sets her stubborn heart on bringing him out of the dark and back into the light...whether he likes it or not. 

When the stilted, uncomfortable interactions between Kate and Matt slowly shift into something more, is God finally answering the longing of her heart? Or will Kate be required to give up more than she ever dreamed?


My Thoughts:
Once again I'm writing a review where I feel I don't know where to start because I loved a book so much! I guess it's a good thing to be having this problem, right? This was the second debut CONTEMPORARY novel that I've read this year that I have absolutely loved. It's pretty unusual for me to have more contemporary favorites than historical favorites this far into the year but what can I say these modern-day fairy tales have me hooked.

My Stubborn Heart has everything I love, an old house, antiques, classic cars, and did I mention a brooding ex-hockey star hero? Yes ladies, Matt Jarreau gives Mr. Darcy, Mr. Rochester and their fancy pants a run for their money in the delicious hero category. Imagine your favorite sports star showing up at your house to hang some drywall....Well that's sort of what happened in this book. Ms. Becky Wade certainly writes a hero like a seasoned pro!

This wasn't just a light romance though, it had so much more depth than that. It's also a book of healing, moving on and listening to God. It's definitely one of those books that took you on an emotional roller-coaster ride. I honestly can't remember laughing AND crying so much while reading a book. It is just what a modern-day romance fiction should be! The only tiny thing that bothered me (but not enough to knock this book down even half of a star) was that each time a character entered the scene we knew what brand of clothing they were wearing or what kind of slippers they were putting on. To me it's not very important that the hero was wearing Abercrombie (he could have rocked a ratty t-shirt in my opinion) or that Kate's slippers were UGGs. For a debut however this was a great book that I plan on reading again and recommending to friends and fans of Christian fiction.


To read what others are saying about the book go HERE.

My Rating: 5 stars


*I received my complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for posting my honest opinion/review of it for the tour.*

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 Win a Nook Simple Touch™ with GlowLight™ in Becky Wade's My Stubborn Heart Giveaway and RSVP for FB Party {5/24}!

  Celebrate with Becky by entering her My Stubborn Heart Giveaway and connecting with her during the Author Chat Party on 5/24!




One fortunate winner will receive:
  • A Brand New Nook Simple Touch™ with GlowLight™
  • A $25 Barnes & Noble Gift Certificate
  • A copy of My Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends at noon on May 24th. Winner will be announced at the "My Stubborn Heart" Author Chat Facebook Party on 5/24. Becky will be hosting an book chat, testing your trivia skills and giving away some great prizes!

So grab your copy of My Stubborn Heart and join Becky on the evening of the May 24th for a chance to meet Becky and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book - don't let that stop you from coming!)

Enter via E-mail Enter via Facebook Enter via Twitter

Don't miss a moment of the fun. RSVP today and tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 24th!

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Preview of My Stubborn Heart

My Stubborn Heart

Happy Reading!


After All Winner!

The winner of a copy of Deborah Raney's After All is...

Katie M!

Katie has been emailed and will have 48 hours to claim her prize or another winner will be selected.
Thank you all so much for entering! I'll be hosting another book giveaway in the upcoming days so look for it soon. :-)

Happy Reading!




Summer Fun in a Book: The Ride of Her Life (Lake Manawa Summers, Book 3) by Lorna Seilstad

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Ride of Her Life
(Lake Manawa Summers, Book 3)
by Lorna Seilstad
Copyright 2012
Revell Books
ISBN: 9780800734473
About the Book:
She's planted firmly on solid ground. He's ready to sweep her off her feet.

The only man pragmatic Lilly Hart needs in her life is a six-year-old. Widowed for three years, Lilly has decided to leave the home of her intrusive in-laws to stand on her own. However, her in-laws find her new life as a cook at Lake Manawa utterly unsuitable for their grandson. When an argument ensues, a handsome stranger--who designs roller coasters, of all things--intercedes on her behalf. But Lilly is not about to get involved with any man, especially this cocky gentleman. Little does she know she is about to begin the ride of her life.

Filled with the sweet romance of summer, The Ride of Her Life will have you laughing out loud and sighing contentedly as you spend the summer of 1906 at Lake Manawa.


My Thoughts:
Oh where, oh where do I begin? How about with this...The Ride of Her Life is fun, romantic and sure to satisfy everyone who is a fan of this series and bring new fans on board? Yep, I think that just about says it all but since I need to write a review with just a little more substance I'll type that Ms. Lorna Seilstad has the knack for writing a great Christian story. Her characters are so full of life and flavor, especially Nick who just adds the right amount of spice to rock Lilly Hart, our heroine's, world - in the cleanest sense of course! ;-) Even the secondary character's like Miss Eugenia, Lilly's rather inexperienced kitchen helper, added to this tale about friendship, love and the huge issue of trust. I really appreciated the fact that most of the people weren't overly exaggerated, meaning they weren't completely good and righteous or terribly evil. There was definitely a "true to life" balance that I liked. I was so glad to see that Marguerite and Emily from Making Waves and A Great Catch didn't fall off the radar and were a big part of this story too. When all's said and done this is a wonderful conclusion to the series and I will miss Lake Manawa. Good stuff!

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

To learn more about Lorna and her books visit HER WEBSITE


*I received my complimentary copy from the publisher at the author's request. I am an "influencer" for the author but I wasn't obligated to provide the above review and wouldn't have done so if I could not have honestly said that I enjoyed the book.*


Happy Reading!




Clash of the Titles: Soul-gripping Heroines

Tuesday, May 8, 2012




*Guest post by Jennifer Slattery

When our daughter was young, I was very cautious of the television shows and movies she watched. It wasn’t just the language or violence that concerned me, but the image of women they portrayed. The media seemed to convey a constant message: “Women’s value is only skin deep.” I was probably overly cautious, but the discussion still holds merit. What do our choice of heroine’s say about our values as a society?

At the risk of sounding clichĂ©, we’ve come a long way … in but a short period of time. The other day my daughter showed me a page from her magazine. On it, there were five models, each with different skin tones and body types.

Hurrah!

I believe the heroine’s in Christian fiction are changing, too. I’ve read novels of women with disabilities, vices they need to overcome, backgrounds they’re not fond of. I’ve read of women doctors, single moms, those facing divorce. To me, a sinner saved by grace, it’s encouraging to read of women just like me—imperfect, yet strong. Struggling, yet overcoming. Imperfect women living in an imperfect world, embraced and loved by a perfect God.

I believe our cardboard heroines from the past arose out of honorable intentions. There was a general desire to set forth perfection in the hopes that we, as readers, would strive for it. And there is much wisdom to that theory, and yet, the Bible presents a different kind of hero and heroine.

Those like Abraham, who lied, thus betraying his wife.

And Moses, a prince turned murderer turned liberator.

Those like Ruth, who had to beg, well, glean, for her next meal.

Paul, a religious tyrant who watched as Stephen the first martyr was stoned.

A sinful woman with an alabaster jar who was willing to surrender something so costly when she found something of higher value—Jesus.

Each of these characters taught us something about grace and something about ourselves. Through their struggles, God reveals our own. More than that, through their triumphs, God stirs us toward victory.

I’d love to hear from you. Has there been a heroine—in a novel, movie, or the Bible—that God used to tap deep into your heart, revealing an area of weakness He wanted to change? Tell me about her, and what God revealed through her.
 ***
*Clash of the Titles’ hostess, Jennifer Slattery, lives in the Midwest with her husband and their teenage. She writes for the ACFW Journal, Internet CafĂ© Devotions, Jewels of Encouragement, and the Christian Pulse. Her work has placed in various contests and appeared in numerous publications and compilation works. Visit her online at her devotional blog, Jennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud (http://jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com) or on Facebook at “Living by Grace,” a modern-day meet-at-the-well community. 


Happy Reading!


May Giveaway: After All by Deborah Raney

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

To celebrate the start of the lovely, warm month of May I'm giving away a copy of the new release in the Hanover Falls trilogy, After All by Deborah Raney. Thanks to Libby @ Howard Books for sending me the extra copy to give away. Be sure to read all of the rules for the giveaway in the form below and look for my review very soon!

by Deborah Raney
Howard Books
Copyright 2012
ISBN: 9781416599951


About the book: 
Eighteen months after the tragic Grove Street Fire took the life of her husband, David, and four other heroic firefighters, Susan Marlowe thinks she’s finally beginning to heal.

But then she discovers that David carried a secret to his grave.

A secret that changes everything she thought their marriage had been.

For the sake of their sons, can Susan forgive the unforgivable?

Andrea Morley lost her closest friend in the fire. But she has no right to mourn him. Instead, she must forever grieve in silence—because her dearest friend was someone else’s husband.

Peter Brennan carries the weight of the world on his shoulders. As Hanover Falls’ fire chief, he was responsible for the brave firefighters who lost their lives that awful November night. Can he ever shake the feeling that he should have somehow prevented the tragedy? As he tries to rebuild the team at Clemens County’s Station 2, it seems he might find comfort in the arms of the woman he least expected.

To learn more about the author and this series visit Deborah's WEBSITE



Happy Reading!


Clash of the Titles: The Birth of Characters by Carol Moncado


This week, COTT is featuring a Clash of Leading Ladies. But just how are interesting characters born? Here's one author's experience. Welcome Carol Moncado.

Do you ever wonder how authors come up with their characters? I've heard of authors who fashion their main characters after a barista at their favorite coffee shop or some guy on the bus who looked interesting. The further I get into my writing journey, the more I find my characters often come from real life. 


For instance:
The weekend before Easter, I was diagnosed with Bell's Palsy - where half your face just stops working. Fun.
Not really, but it's great story fodder. That's me. The story is one I started recently.

She was wearing an eye patch.
At church.
On Easter.
It might have been what drew my attention to her, but it wasn't what kept it. She stood there, singing along with the praise and worship band, her hands raised. Worshiping her Maker with abandon. But only half of her face worked. The whole thing lit up but only half of it moved. The half with the eye patch seemed to be paralyzed, but it didn't bother her.A pink eye patch.
Now, to be fair, the heroine is younger, skinnier, with darker, straighter hair than me, but that's where the idea for her came from.
In February, Travis [one of the shift managers at my favorite Panera] informed me I needed to name a character after him. Travis-with-the-faux-hawk became the hero in a manuscript.

I flopped into the recliner and ran my hands over my face until my fingers furrowed rows in my faux-hawk. The one that made the kids think I was way cooler than I really was.

But Travis won't see his name in print. A week ago, he was in a car accident. At age 22, he left this life - leaving behind the love of his life and two children.

I'm deeply saddened by news of Travis' passing. To me he was more than 'just' a shift manager at the Panera I frequent. He was a nice guy I loved to chat with. Another manuscript I planned to work on is about a widow. That's all I knew until last week. Now, she's a widow with young children a few years after a senseless tragedy.
Twenty-two is too young to be a widow.
Bethany Sheer knew this with absolute certainty.
And even though twenty-two had passed her three years earlier – along with her husband, the love of her life and the father of her two children – she remembered all too clearly what the pain tearing through the heart of the young woman on the news felt like.
Someday, I hope to be able to share Travis-with-the-faux-hawk with his family. To let them know that he touched my life. That he inspired a character in a novel – and so did they.
Because the best inspiration is what we find all around us.


When she's not writing about her imaginary friends,Carol Moncado is hanging out with her husband and four kids in the big yard of her southwest Missouri home, teaching American Government at a community college, reading, or watching NCIS. You can follow her ramblings on her blog .


 **Be sure to head over to Clash of the Titles and cast your vote today!


******


Happy Reading!!!




Wildflowers from Winter ARC Winner!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Thanks to all who entered the giveaway of Katie Ganshert's Wildflowers from Winter. I loved reading all your comments and I know Katie did too! If you didn't win this time please be sure to stop back for a new book giveaway in the VERY near future. ;-)

And now for the winner...

Cheryl D!





Cheryl has already claimed her prize. Remember if you didn't win Wildflowers from Winter is available for pre-order at Amazon and other great book retailers!